tv Washington Journal CSPAN March 24, 2011 7:00am-10:00am EDT
of wal-mart versus duke. a class action lawsuit. that's live at 12:30 p.m. eastern time. and in about 45 minutes, former u.s. comp then, political strategist maria cardona and john feehery and we will discuss the arab world with a former u.s. ambassador to morocco, marc ginsburg. on this channel, "washington journal" is next, live with your phone calls. later today, we will give you a brown paper -- roundtable that will include the mayor of boston, st. paul, the minnesota, green though, mississippi, and sacramento, california. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] host: the video on your screen is some of the latest footage on the air raids in libya, courtesy
of the aljazeera network. with the president act in town, questions are being raised about u.s. policy and goals in libya. that is our discussion this morning on the "washington journal" as we go through the newspapers. what do you think? how is the president handling the libya conflict so far? 202 is the area code -- how do you think the president is handling the libyan conflict. yesterday speaker john boehner sent this letter to the president.
that is just a little bit from speaker boehner's letter from yesterday to the president. joining us on the phone is liz from "the washington post." she is in tripoli. if you cannot get us up-to-date on what has happened the last couple of hours in libya. guest: it is pretty quiet this morning. do not have much activity until the night time. last night, we did have a lot of explosions. i counted more than we have had on any previous night. and so, it does seem that the air strikes have been said -- intensified in the capital last night. host: what is it like being in tripoli right now? where are you staying? are you able to get out of the hotel? do the american forces know
where the foreign correspondent's hotel is? guest: i sincerely hope american, french, and british forces know where our hotel is. i do believe that they do. they see tv networks broadcasting live from this location. we are in a hotel kind of on the edge of the city. not outside of the city. but on the edge. and sometimes we are allowed out, sometimes we are not. on sundays, inexplicably they will post guards and tell us we cannot go out at all and other days they did not stop us. we are not absolutely free to move around because of we go to a sensitive area or do something security forces. the suspicious -- if you just walk around and central areas and keep a low profile on up -- profile and talk to people, you can do that. host: what is the mood? are you getting a slice of the
mood in tripoli? guest: what you have are these noisy and boisterous gaddafi supporters who gathered in the central square and chant gaddafi slogans and they pick up trucks and they go through the streets at night, during the day, chanting gaddafi slogans. a very noisy. you can't avoid them. it gives the superficial impression that this is a city showing its loyalty for gaddafi. but you do go around the streets and have conversations with people you do find an awful lot of people saying they welcome the air strikes, that they hope that means the end of gaddafi. to a poll of where opinion lies and who is an majority -- it is impossible, of course. but certainly this is a deeply divided city. host: your story in "the washington post" -- fears of a
humanitarian crisis in libyan city growth. tell us about this story. guest: all the intention has been focused really on benghazi where the armed rebels are fighting a frontline war. but there is another situation developing about 130 miles from here, much closer to the capital, the city of misrata, where rebels have been in control of the city for the past months but gaddafi forces have encircle them. they managed to penetrate the town in the day since the no-fly zone was declared, which called into question how effective it really is to go up with the airplanes when you are dealing with forces that are using tanks and guns to go after people. people in the city are telling us that conditions are quite dire. with a hospital overflowing with injured people and medication running out. host: you said you heard of the bombings. how close are the air raids?
where you are? guest: nothing has happened to particularly. we know there have been strikes on their faces but they are along the coast and we are quite far from the coast. the closest would have been the gaddafi compound that was hit the other night, about a mile and a half away. we did hear some reasonably close strike last night but i must say from where we are we have only had very distant explosions and anti-aircraft fire. host: liz sly from "the washington post." we appreciate you joining us from libya. from yahoo news -- a.p. story. obama rules out land invasion in libya.
now we want to hear from you this morning. how do you think the presidents of our has handled the libya conflict. we will put the numbers on the screen. brenda, democrat, from pearl land, texas. guest: -- caller: i think our president has done a fantastic job. he has not committed as long term. you know, peter -- wouldn't it have been wonderful had we challenged or question the -- questioned that everything previous administration bush did? we would not be in nearly the condition we would be and if we had done that. is that correct? host: this article from "politico." welcome home, mr. president. some questions about libya.
this is a bit of a policy analysis in the politico this morning. bob, westminster, maryland. republican line. you are on the air. caller: good morning. thanks for being here because at least we get it unfiltered through c-span. what i would say first is, while i very much did not agree that many -- with many of the things george bush did, at least he went to the congress and he did so as the founding fathers intended because we elect our congress people, and they have a vote on it. in this particular instance, we did not. that is point one.
point two, we continue to say that we are not going to commit ground troops, yet, i don't believe that we did not have ground troops in position now because they have to be in the forward positions to direct the -- to their targets. the third thing is, it seems to be a thorough lack of focus, if you will, because we on the one hand here that we are not there to take out muammar gaddafi, yet the secretary of state is calling for him to leave, and this grand coalition, it seems as if we as usual are spending all the money and doing all of the heavy lifting. so, it appears to be a u.s. operation and not one of coalition as it is being sold to us. host: kentucky. milton. caller: i don't know. the last time we got into a conflict for 10 years we forgot
to pay for it. this time we are in the middle of another situation where there is no money for it. i think he has done a great job. the president is trying to help some people trying to go toward democracy, and that is a new thing for our government. usually we align ourselves with dictators and try to get the benefits of their dictatorship. where is the money to pay for it? you just can't go and spend money in a situation we are in, where we forgot to pay for a war for 10 years, and now we are going to cut domestic programs and continue to give money to other countries and go around trying to police the world. i think the world needs a policeman, but i did not think it is fair for the american people to sacrifice domestic programs and things that actually work and have proven to
that is in the politico this morning. in 2007, then senator joe biden talked about foreign conflicts. this is joe biden from 2007. >> some may have been -- either police or upset when the news came out that the president of the united states was lying to us about the intelligence information on iran. some of you may have seen me on stephanopoulos or "meet the press" or the shows i have been on on a weekly basis. i want to make it clear with you. i drafted with that out of the 17 years i was chairman of the judiciary committee, ranking member -- ladies and gentlemen, i drafted an outline of what i think the constitutional limits of the war clause. went to five leading constitutional scholars and they
drafted a treaties for me. i want to make it clear -- and i made it clear to the president -- that if he takes the nation to war in iran without congressional approval, i will make it my business to impeach him. host: that was joe biden from 2007. this article from "the washington post." that is from "the washington post" this one. gus, a democrat from georgia.
what do you think of the president's handling of the libya conflict so far? caller: i think he done about the best he can with the position he is in. whenever he do, he gets criticized, regardless of what it is. i think the black man and got the white people in america all shook up. they cannot stand it because he was a black man. george bush -- host: you think this is about race? caller: part of it is, peter. i can understand why white people cannot see the racist element of it. if he was a black bush, you could see it. host: omaha, nebraska, on the republican line. just then, how you think the president has handled the libyan conflict so far -- justin? caller: i do not approve of the present -- he has shown that he is loyal to one group of people, the bankers. we have no business in libya. if this was such an issue, why
did we allow this for 40 years or some of their other nations closer. at least it is a coalition. i am not interested in anything the united nations says -- host: what did you think of the iraq war during the bush administration? caller: i am a veteran of the iraq war. i was there in 2004 when it was still pretty fuzzy -- when there was no government and nothing going on. i was a bit younger than. that was almost 10 years ago. and it took me about two weeks of being there to figure out that this was a scam. iraq was alive. afghanistan -- the soviets spent 10 years there and could not figure it out. as soon as they pulled out, they went bankrupt. so, i don't know. i did not think we have any business being over in libya and we need to be protecting our nation in over here in america. host: ban on the independent line. rochester, new york. caller: joe biden said it best a few minutes ago on your
broadcast. that the president should be and peach. and quite frankly, many of the things he has done since he has gotten into the president's office has gone against the congress. he had bills passed without the public that the word being looked at and kind of a number of other things. he spends money like we've got a lot of it, and quite frankly, in new york, we have a budgetary problem. and the democrats, they do the same thing up here. my feelings aren't that the president and the congress -- congress has not done the job unless they impeach the president. host: can the west win in libya without a dominant and sustained role?
griffin, georgia. robert on our democrats' line. you are on the air. what you think about the president's handling of the libyan conflict so far? caller: as far as i am concerned, i think he is doing a beautiful job. with what he was dealt with the first came into office. i mean, he has shown extraordinary patience with the different things that have come up. hit the ground running. as far as libya is concerned, we all wanted him to go there and help out.
now that he is there, people are questioning why he is there. it is sad that we as americans do not back our president. i have never seen any president of these united states where the citizens treat him like he is a foreigner in another land. this is sad to watch. our kids watching this today -- and we say we are at a point in america where we have made a change. no, we have not made a change. we try to make president obama into a scrap of both. we wanted him to fail, like rush limbaugh said. he is the most educated present we have ever had. but yet, still, we will not back him. i do not understand him. host: florida. fellow on the republican line. caller: hello, good morning. i have a little bit of a constitutional issue to discuss. as far as the president's actions.
where in the constitution doesn't say the president has the power to call up the military? i can tell you. it does not. only the congress has the power to declare or make resolutions involving armed conflict with the united states military. as a matter of fact, the president is not even commander in chief until the congress calls up the military for action. and to act outside of the authority of the constitution, frankly, that is impeachable. and to act under orders -- to follow the orders of the u.n., which is also unconstitutional for the president of the united states. i can't even follow this whole scenario. it is mind-boggling. all people have to do is sit down and read the document and you can see for yourself. it clearly states the powers of what congress is supposed to do
and what the president is supposed to do. and there has to be a threat to the united states for the congress to provide for the common defense. there has to be a threat there for them to even act. there is no threat, congress cannot call the military. host: got your point, a look. thank you. kay tweets in -- a brand new pew center poll out on re-election 2012 for the present. the headline and article about it is that president obama is sitting currently well positioned for 2012. here is just a quick break out of the results.
you can find the entire pool at people-press.org. or you can just search for the pew center. lewiston, michigan. or lewiston, maine? caller: michigan. if everybody is so cost effective, it each cruise missile costs about a million dollars. why don't we go in and nuke the guy? i know it sounds drastic, but stop and think. we don't even have funds to take care are people in the united states, and yet we keep wasting money on useless or wars with countries that have nothing to do with our security. and now, barack obama has got plenty of time to run to brazil and all over the place when he should be sitting at his desk in the white house taking care of our financial responsibilities here in the united states. when i hear that they are going to cut social security, they are
going to cut aid for the poor -- well, that is all mute did we are going to spend a million dollars for cruise missile to blow up somebody who has nothing to do with the united states. why don't we just knew it and get away and take care of our people at home. host: i want to show you the front page of "the new york times" this morning. like most papers, a great big story on liz taylor. and they lead with the tokyo situation -- anxiety up as tokyo gives warning on its tap water. but in the middle of these two stories is a gaddafi story. business pay off helped gaddafis solidify control.
shows, they were questioning why the united states was not doing something and letting the people be slaughtered. they questioned when iran -- when some of the people in iran rose up and wanted freedom and the united states did not do anything. this is different in that the rebels have taken over some cities, and gaddafi was going to go in and slaughter the people and the rebels. so, the united states went in with partners. i think he is doing a great job. other stations are playing a clip of newt gingrich to make those same comments before the president went in, that he should of gone in -- he would have done a fly zone right at that moment. " the president is in, he completely changed what he is saying and discuss that he would not have gone in. carper example of the way the republicans have handled everything this president has done. host: in fact, "the new york daily news" has an op ed on newt
gingrich's positions on libya. california. james on our republican my. you are on the air. howdy think president obama has handled the deal? caller: when i am saying is this is a lot more complex than what you think. the libyan conflict was actually not asked for by the rebels. it was asked for by the arab league.
and the arab league, in my opinion, has bought and paid for buraku st. obama, the 41st president of the united states of america has been bought and paid for by the prince of saudi arabia. host: how do you come to that conclusion? caller: there is a tape when he was in saudi arabia, he accepted a big chunk of gold and that was the second for to the -- host: where did you see the tape the president barack obama -- caller: it has been on television. and he's has been to mecca as the standing president and he accepted a chunk of gold from the prince -- of saudi arabia. it is beyond impeachable. it is tyranny and treachery. host: tied it in, very quickly, james. i know it is off topic. how did this chunk of gold result in 60 million americans voting for barack obama at in -- caller: the arab league wanted
to get rid of mubarak first -- they said the protest and got rid of mubarak through that and then they put in a puppet there. now they wanted to get rid of gaddafi, and the doctor says he is a martyr for allah, so the arab league put pressure on him there and did a -- and that did not seem to work. so, they put pressure on the u.n.. host: over 60 million americans voted for barack obama for president -- can you connect that dot. caller: that he is bought and paid for -- host: north carolina. but when it. how does the president handled the libyan conflict so far? caller: the same as the other two wars. i don't believe we should be and none of them. if they keep on, they might as well change the name from the united states -- to the united warmongers states. this is getting ridiculous. how many more wars will we get
into before we have no wars? cannot police the world. host: thank you calling in this morning. in half an hour we will return to this topic. so, if you still wanted to talk about it, the president that the handling about the libyan situation, we will return to this topic in about a half an hour. and at 8:30 a.m. this morning, a special "washington journal" program with students from the national archives and that will begin in about an hour. but right now, coming up, former controller general of the united states, david walker, to talk about u.s. fiscal policy and what patty things we are honored. -- what path he thinks we are on.
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accountability office and currently the founder and ceo of an organization called come back american initiative. mr. walker, your organization recently came out with this report called the sovereign fiscal responsibility index 2011. can you just briefly explain what this report is? guest: as you know, fiscal means tax and spending policy and that is the responsibility of congress and the present. basically what this index does, stanford univ.'s -- program assigned four student under my supervision to come up with an index to rank countries, in this case, 34, based upon where they are on the debt, where they are headed, and how strong their systems are. bottom line, the united states ranks no. 28 a lot of 34. so, we are closer to the bottom three than the top three. and our ranking has declined
dramatically in the last 10 years. the good news is, some of the countries their rank at the top have had their own problems in the past. they got their act together and they are ranked highly. and if we were able to adopt the recommendations of the national fiscal responsibility reform commission or ones that have the same bottom line fiscal impact, we would go from number 28 to 8 and have fiscal sustainability 440-plus years. host: ok. let's talk about one of your categories. fiscal space. the results. you call this, fiscal base by country, percent of gross domestic product. listed at the top is chile, with nearly 200% fiscal what does that mean? guest: what it means is the fear of radical amount of debt as a percentage of the economy that they can take on -- so, how much could you take on without having certainly a debt crisis, or a
crisis of confidence among investors, versus how much you have right now. for example, there fiscal space is 200%, and they are at a 30%. if they could have 200 and they could have 30, the fiscal space would be 170 in that example. host: you go through here and you listed by developed countries, emerging markets, and then here comes the united states at what? 60%. what does that mean? guest: basically what it says is it if you look at the theoretical capacity of the united states to be able to take on debt as a percentage of its economy, compared to how much debt we have now, we have room for about another 60%. but keep in mind, we are adding about 10% per year. in addition, we have very low interest rates and a very short average maturity for our debt. bottom-line is, we will enter the danger zone for potential fiscal crisis within the next
two-three years, and yet washington is asleep at the switch. host: we will put the numbers on the screen as we talk about the u.s. fiscal path and u.s. fiscal policy with david walker. beacon of fiscal path -- this chart. chile, china, sweden, estonia, plus several other countries -- 40-plus years of what? guest: based upon where they are now and where they are headed, they have fiscal sustainability -- meaning, they should not have a debt crises -- forever -- for over 40 years. based on this analysis, the united states is virtually certain to have a debt crisis within 60 years. however, we enter the danger zone within the next two or
three years. if you look at the people at the bottom of the rankings, below us, they entered the danger zone when to the got within 50% of their limit. we will be within 50% of parliament within two or three years. italy, ireland, japan, portugal, greece, along with belgium, hungry, spain -- canada and portugal and britain -- both have austerity budgets proposed, past, or rejected. portugal -- stephen harper, vote of confidence. what is going on? guest: portugal is next-to-last in the sovereign fiscal some -- greece is last but they have a serious problem, more serious than ours. they also cannot have over 60% of the world's global reserve currency so they have to make tough choices. frankly, they waited too long. to there are going to end up
engaging in a very difficult austerity measures very quickly because they waited too long. here is the key. the night -- united states does not exempt from the laws of prudent finance. if we wait too long we will have to do the same thing -- make dramatic spending cuts, draconian changes in social insurance programs and significant tax increases all of the sudden and ordered to be able to stabilize the markets and restore confidence. we don't have to do that, but we need to start soon if we want to avoid that. host: your conclusion, which you referred to earlier in your report -- for many other countries including the u.s., fiscal governance is moderate to week. while most countries in this index are rather transparent, fiscal roles typically have weak legal stature and edmonton enforcement. the result is that has grown over time and there is little to prevent it from rising and the future. yet, the situation is not irreversible. if the u.s. implemented the
recommendations of the erskine bowles, alan simpson commission today, or a package of reforms with the same fiscal impact, it would immediately move to number three and fiscal governance and become one of the top 10 countries in the overall index. guest: that is correct. there is hope. the never take a country, new zealand, had its own currency crisis in the early 1990's. it they made dramatic and fundamental reforms in what the government did, how did business, however measured success. they've reformed entitlement programs, put in fiscal constraints, reformed the tax policy, and now they are number two. if new zealand can do it, the united states can do it. host: can we do it without tax increases, in your view? guest: no. the simple truth is the government has grown too big, waited too long to restructure and, frankly, promised to much. in my view, to put us on a more prudent and sustainable path, it is about 2 to 3 to 1, spending
cuts to tax increases. but we have to reimpose the top statutory budget -- we had it from early 90 through 2002, ones that expired in 2002 things have been totally out of control so the first thing is to put tough budget controls that would be an effective 2013, reach an agreement on short-term spending for 2011 and for 2012, and it should include specific -- debt targets, and if not met, automatic spending cuts and temporary tax shirt -- surcharges to make sure we do not continue to worsen the surge which. host: medicare and social security. guest: our first -- big challenge so far is health care. the last health care bill, the one-year anniversary yasser -- yesterday, but when not help the spirit that will worsen our fiscal situation and debt problems. based upon the latest opinion of the chief actuary of medicare,
he says the assumptions that were used to estimate the cost were not reasonable more sustainable. he came up with his own estimate, the estimated cost of medicare would be $12 trillion higher than otherwise advertise. with regard to social security, social security does not face an immediate crisis. it is not our biggest problem. it is a critically important program. we need to make it solvent, sustainable, secure, and more savings oriented. but we ought to reform at first. why? because we will do it in a way that will make it solvent, sustainable, secure, more savings oriented. it is under funded by $8 trillion in current terms. it is adding to our deficit now, not helping us -- not by a lot, but it is adding. and it will permanently end up adding to the deficit in the next several years. it is an opportunity to do something that would be positive and i think we should take advantage of that. host: the congressional budget office just came out with the
deficit projections. currently projecting $1.40 trillion deficit for 2011 alone. the president's budget increases of this year's deficit by $26 billion. it at -- and prince iraq's $1.20 trillion deficit for 2012. -- it projects $1.20 trillion deficit for 2012. guest: i think it is optimistic based on reasonable assumptions overtime. the fact that the matter is that today's deficit is not a problem. today's event is not a problem. let me explain why. today's deficit, as large as it is and shocking as it is, is driven primarily by temporary factors. the recession, followed by weak economic recovery, of very high unemployment, two undeclared and bond-financed wars and another venture in libya. bailouts, stimulus programs, temporary tax cuts. these are the primary reasons we
have a large deficits we have right now. so, we need to recognize that the true threat, the deficits we will have in the future after those temporary situations are gone, that are driven by the retirement of the baby boomers situation -- generation. tend thousand people per day are eligible to retire under social security. they are driven by health care costs that grow much faster than the economy. and a growing gap between projected revenues and expenditures. so, let's keep our eye on the ball and focus on the real threat rather than what people believe it might be. host: last question before we go to calls. politically feasible? guest: i think it is not politically feasible to engage in dramatic in panama reforms, tax reforms, and spending cuts and read prioritization of this year. because the work has not been done with the american people. the commission did great work but they did not do anything outside the beltway. you need to prepare the
american bible for the chubb -- tough choices. what is politically feasible is let's get an agreement on spending for 2011 and for 2012. let's bring back stuff stacked -- tough statutory budget controls that start in 2013. and let us engaged in an authorized and funded citizen education engagement effort that would inform the electorate for 2012 and allow elected officials to make tough choices without losing their jobs. host: david walker is our guest, founder and ceo of come back initiative, former controller general of the united states for about 10 years. new orleans, a democrat. you're on the air with david walker. caller: thank you for c-span. all i went through school was the eighth grade. but this gentleman was articulate enough for me to understand. i came on the air to jump on him about -- and everybody is talking about expenditures and nobody is talking about revenues. there was a major tax cut for
large corporations and the very rich and i was very refreshed to hear him mention it. you cannot keep on giving people tax breaks, giving multimillionaires more and more money and take it from the people of the bottom. my daddy used as a years ago, he had more trust for a man in an alley with a gun because you know where he was coming from. the guys in the banks with a pencil press dealing more money and has a lot less moral spirit -- morals. you have to have revenue to pay for expenditures. the whole thing is completely out of whack. host: we have to leave it there. let us get a response from our guest. guest: first, the problem is primarily a spending problem. the government has grown too big and promised to much and waited too long to restructure. we will have to reform entitlement programs to make them solvent, sustainable,
secure, affordable. the biggest challenge will be health care. secondly, we will have to cut defense and other spending and constrain it in a way that does not compromise national or homeland security. that could be done. thirdly, we will have to reform our tax system to make it simpler, fairer, more competitive and equitable and to generate more revenues. in my view, it is about two to three to one -- spending cuts over time compared to additional revenues. but we are going to have to have additional revenues. the math just doesn't work otherwise. host: the next call for david walker. david from illinois. caller: take a short comment and a question. mr. walker, i have seen him before on your program and when you first left government, i thought when his organization was formed it was funded primarily by a very wealthy man, one individual.
secondly, i am really miffed at the fact that mr. walker said government -- government grew too big. tell me where there has been a steady that government should be of a certain size? we've got 300 million-plus people in this country. we are stuck all over the world with all kinds of adventures and economic interests. why should we have a small government? guest: first, i think it is it -- legitimate to lead a discussion and debate what we think government should do. i think there would be a significant difference in opinion about whether we should be doing the policing actions around the world, including the latest one in libya. the fact is this -- in 1800, the federal government was 2% of the economy. today it is 25% of the economy, and it is on track to be 38% of the economy without any reforms
by 24. if you add state and local government to that, government would be 50% of the economy by 2014. you can look at all of the studies in the world and find out the larger the government gets, the less economic growth peaked, the less innovation, etcetera. government plays an important role. and we need to make sure that government is focused on the things that it must do and we should not rely on the private sector to do. but one thing for sure, you can't have a big government and small taxes. it does not work. he will go bankrupt. host: monty tweets in -- guest: first, we cannot grow our way out of our problem. we are in a $60 trillion-plus hole when you consider not just our corrects debt but the off- balance sheet, unfunded obligations for medicare, social security, a ryan -- variety of
commitment to contingencies. in order to grow your way out of the whole, by simple math, it would take double-digit real gdp growth for decades. it has never happened in the history of the united states. it is not going to happen. yes, if we want to have policies that are pro-growth that will help minimize the number of changes. but we are going to have to make changes regarding spending programs and tax policies. to and the sooner we do it, the less the changes will be, the more time we will have to phase them in, and the less chance we will have a debt crisis. the noble the number one holder of our debt is? the federal reserve. it is self dealing. when they quit buying our debt, we will have to go -- to go to the markets, and based on the current path, interest rates will go up and that will compound our problem potentially very quickly. host: staten island, new york. arthur, a republican line. caller: hello, mr. peter.
if i were to buy both of your generous and breakfast, you would not have a chance to egypt -- eat it because -- have you made a comparable study with those that have similar fiscal that in the united states and where do we stand? and the second question would be, based on what you say, faugh is it just one party not listening or is it both party's responsibility? because i agree with a lot of things that you said. it's out of the problem to get other than we should be maybe tax. is it just one party not listening or both? host: we got a point. david walker? guest: we compared debt levels
to 34 countries and the governance systems for 34 countries and if you and other viewers should go to combat the merkel web site, www.tcaii.org did you can access the information directly -- comeback america website. regarding the political issue -- there is no party of fiscal responsibility. the facts are that both parties have had a problem regarding fiscal responsibility. the last 10 years has been a disaster. if you look at president george herbert walker bush, 41, and president william jefferson clinton, one republican and democrat -- they did three things in common that were fiscally responsible. they imposed a tough budget controls to keep government from making more promises, they did not expand entitlement programs, and they broke campaign pledges on taxes when they saw they were irresponsible. 343, they did the right thing.
george w. bush and unfortunately so far president obama are exactly the opposite -- 043. the president has to show more leadership. he is not engaged in the issue. he is the chief executive officer of the united states. he has an obligation. and frankly, the leaders of both parties have to work with the president on a constructive basis to help keep america great and to avoid a debt crisis. host: 3400 tweets in -- guest: i think we need to understand the difference between the short-term challenge and the structural challenge but let me try real quickly. first, we want to make sure that we don't undercut the heat -- undercut the economic recovery. we need to get unemployment down. and it actually we need to make targeted investments in critical infrastructure and a few other areas that could help us improve
innovation, increased economic growth, and our competitive posture. the real threat is not this year and next year. at the same time, we have to put mechanisms in place that will force us to deal with the 88% of the spending that congress is even talking about right now, nor is the present. and will force the -- congress and the president for comprehensive tax reform. that is essential. let us differentiate the short term from structural unless tried to make progress on both fronts. host: jesse is a democrat from chicago. good morning. caller: i have a quick question, mr. walker. here in chicago we keep on hearing that the tax bracket for the upper 1% of america, if that was to be taken away, and were paying their fair share, how much of an immediate impact would that make on our financial situation? thank you. guest: there is absolutely no
question that those that earn more and have more wealth are going to have to pay higher taxes. at the same point in time, we need to make a lot of other reforms, too. the lead bidder not, about 46% of americans pay no income taxes whatsoever -- believe it or not. yes, they do pay payroll taxes for social security or medicare, but the taxes they pay for social security and medicare are not adequate to fund the benefits promised. so, we are going to have to engaged in comprehensive tax reform to make sure that everybody who is above the poverty level pays something for the constitutional role of the federal government. those who end up hurting more and having more will have to pay more. but we need to transform the system to where we are looking at consumption taxes to a greater extent, as well as of reforming the income tax system. host: david walker is the author of three books.
the latest "comeback america, turning the country around and restoring fiscal responsibility." if you go to booktv.org, you can type and david walker. guest: frankly, i think that what happened with regard to the subprime crisis is something that is tragic. it was a failure of private sector governance systems. it was a failure of government oversight and regulation. and quite candidly, people have not been held accountable. and i think the american people ought to be demanding accountability with that. at the same point -- and there have been reforms regarding recent legislation but not enough. what are we going to do about fannie mae and freddie mac? here is another angle i think
you have to keep in mind. the four factors that caused the mortgage-related subprime crises, that end up imposing a lot of losses on taxpayers increasing the deficits and debt dramatically, exist but the federal government own finance system. the risks are much greater and nobody is going to bail out america. we have to solve our own problems and elected officials better get started. host: jim and oxford, mean. you are on the line with a david walker. caller: good morning, mr. walker. how are you? a couple of questions. you say the entitlements are probably hurting us the most -- the biggest deficit. why did they cut the 2% from medicare payments -- and what i have not heard, the employer pays 2% less? and the other question is, when i they going to raise the limit of what people pay into social security? they raised it for years -- and gets up to $100,000 and they did
not what people make more money to pay an extra in. those two things to not make sense. guest: the reduction in the payroll tax was for social security, not for medicare. there are things that were in the health care reform bill that talk about saving money in medicare spending -- provider reimbursement. but there is a real debate about whether not those would actually take place. with regard to social security, clearly, if you look at social security reform, there are several major elements. first, we need a defined benefit program for the bass program. we need to strengthen the benefit. it raises the benefit for people near the poverty level. we need to still than that -- provide benefits for middle and upper income but a little less. we need to encourage people to work longer because those are the demographic realities and it is possible for the nature of our economy. yes, we need to look at possibly changing the cost of living index and raising the wage based
in cape -- cap. raising it, but not eliminating it. it was eliminated from medicare but that was 1.45% on the employer and individual -- social security is a 6.2%. those are some of the things we need to have on the table as part of social security reform. host: you can go to the website that mr. walker talk about -- we will put that up on the screen in just a second. but, if you want to short cut it, you can go to "the washington times" which featured the study that his group did this morning. survey says u.s. financial house in state of disorder. we have been talking about this since 1986. gramm-rudman hollings -- that is what really took out and became a big issue. the balanced budget amendment to the constitution. what do you think whitman guest: look, i am not against a balanced budget amendment but the problem is there will be so
many loopholes that i am not sure it will be effective. in my view, we ought to be thinking about having a limit on how much debt as a percentage of the economy the u.s. can take on. a constitutional limit. in addition, we need statutory budget controls like i have been talking about that would hopefully keep us from ever approaching that constitutional limit. we can think about a line item veto. we can think about making sure that federal spending is actually for something that has a national purpose. you would be shocked, federal money are spent for things that don't have a darn thing to do with something of national significance. host: this tweet from james -- guest: first, the fair tax proposes to eliminate the income tax, to eliminate the payroll tax, and to eliminate the irs -- which sounds good, but the reality someone will have to
administer the new tax system. but it will be replaced with a progressive consumption tax. basically a tax that would be on most, but not all major commercial transactions, and that people who are earning at the poverty level for close to the party level would get a rebate for how much taxes otherwise they might have to pay. from an intellectual it makes more sense from the standpoint of economic growth. if you will get to the underground economy. my view is we need to move more that way, but you will never get their politically all at once. we will meet to consider a consumption tax. we might be able to get that at some time. republican.-tex
caller: there is a company called health science institute of baltimore that gives information that would cut our medical expenses dramatically credit and would you tell us what do you think needs to be done. guest: we are the only country in the world that does not have a budget for what they spend on health care. you cannot write a blank check. secondly, we need to rationalize our promises. we need to make sure that we have universal health care for catastrophic and productive, for everyone, in respect of age, the liver to the private sector with competition. if we need to get out of the business for -- of providing subsidies huge, very wealthy, the court of health-care programs for wealthy people and
top executives. we need medical malpractice reform. we need pay upon results, not procedures. i could go on and on. host: david walker, once again, if people want to see your study that just came out, and what is the website? guest: tcaii.org. host: comeback america initiative it is the organization. we ran out of time so quickly. we will switch topics once again. in half an hour, which will go to the national archives for a special show with students, and that begins at 8:30 a.m. eastern time, but we want to return now to our question of earlier this morning -- howdy think president obama is handling the libyan situation.
you can go ahead and start dialing in. you can also go to twitter not .com carry the video you are seeing is the latest from libya and the u.s. military. it is courtesy of the al jazeera network. now, as we get the phones lined up, we will switch topics. i want to show you some more articles. this is from "the washington times." "u.s. backing libyan consul."
host: president obama and defense secretary robert gates are both saying that they will host: administration officials keep saying that those of us to criticize them for failing to leave -- lead the world are you a letter less, like the dreaded george w. bush, but at this stage we would settle for this administration has been competent at the multilateralism it preaches. in the absence of u.s. leadership, everyone else quarrels. we get a concoction like a political steering committee to run the orders of battle. spartanburg, south carolina. dave on our independent line.
i do think the president is running the libyan situation? caller: i think it is absolutely insane. the libyans have nothing to do with america. if we really wanted to get involved in this situation in any way ever, we should have started a long time ago, a lot longer before we did, and if we were going to do something, we should do a whole lot more than what we are doing now. what we are doing it is an attempt to look like we tried to do something, of which, i may be wrong, but that is what it looks like. host: gary, republican line, dayton, ohio. caller: i do not think we should bother with libya. the president cannot run our country. we have the worst president we
host: birmingham, alabama, tennis on our democrat line. kenneth. caller: he did the right thing. he had not done anything, cable news would have shown images of the people he slaughtered. he did the right thing. i know we are broke. it is unfortunate this happened at this time when the country is broke, but he did the right thing. in time, this will work out. people have to give the president the benefit of the doubt, and that is pretty much what i had to sit. host: michael is in southwest virginia -- southland, virginia. caller: first of all, we should not be over there, involved in
an muammar gaddafi's internal affairs. when we see being reported to rob the world may not necessarily -- throughout the world may not necessarily be the facts on the ground. muammar gaddafi is not in agreement with some of the western policies, but at the same time, he is in control of 40% of the world's supply of oil. we know because of the involvement oil prices have shot up dramatically. president obama is involved in this campaign. is he involved in the campaign to liberate the libyan people, or further the goals of political power and corporate interest in that area of the world? i think he is doing a terrible job of representing the necessary trustees -- the best beach and the necessities of the
american people. -- the necessities of the american people. he is further in the gains of corporate and wealthy interests. host: just to clarify, michael used the figure 40% of the oil -- libya has about 2% of the oil that is used around the world. front-page of "the usa today." a big story on the elizabeth taylor, a story on stopgaps.
host: about camp maryland -- belt camp, maryland, joe, how was the president doing with libya? caller: i think the president is out of line. the action that has taken place in libya his eighth tribal matter. -- is a tribal matter. president gaddafi is backed by more than 100 tribes. the tribes in the east are the tribes that went to the iraq and did harm to our soldiers, and now we are supporting the people that sent our soldiers home in a
body bag. they sent our soldiers home, and they can no longer heard their children, their wives, and they cannot do anything. president obama should be impeached today. host: the next call comes from mclean, virginia, david, a democrat. caller: thank you for taking my call and for c-span. i am concerned about the rhetoric coming from the republican side. i think it is very well and clear that had the president not authorized any military action, this individual which have completely obliterated his people, and if that is what the world was content with, that as well and good. the reaction of the republicans is hysterical.
look what newt gingrich, a potential presidential candidate said on march 7 -- "let's go in now, let's make him step down. just yesterday, he said the president did a poor job. it is completely hypocritical. the republicans need to support this president. anything he does is wrong. they hate him. our country goes through such hatred for a president. host: this tweet -- a choice redbridge of 0: the wall street journal -- frontpage of "the wall street journal."
host: carl, in brentwood, new hampshire. how was the president doing with regard to the libyan conflict? caller: absolutely awful. host: why? caller: 9911, they showed images from the middle east. i saw them celebrating in the streets at our demise, and these are the people we are going out to protect? the best thing we could have done is given arms to muammar
gaddafi and the rebels, and hopefully they will kill each other, and when they're all gone, there will be one person standing, and we will know he is so we can keep an eye on him. see if we want to support america, get out of the middle east, get out of dependency on oil, and tell these people to fight it out themselves. thank you very much. host: as we read earlier, speaker john boehner sent a letter to the president yesterday and you can read the full text of this letter on c- span.org/. just one quick paragraph --
host: again, go to c-span.org/ and you will be able to read the full text. kansas city, kan., theresa, republican line. caller: i think he is doing what is expected of him. i see the congress had told him -- obviously, they said ok. he is not the only one that pushes the button. they are pointing fingers at president obama. well, ok, he is only one man. he cannot do everything himself.
i am really disappointed, and i am really embarrassed right now to be where i am sedate, because never have i seen a president go under so much fire, and no one helps him. other countries are probably laughing at us because we do not support our own president. i think it is said. host: we will leave it there. the video you are seeing is courtesy of al jazeera. it is the latest from libya and some of the military operations. from "the washington post" this morning.
host: trenton, new jersey, frazier on our democrats line. you are on the air. caller: i would like to know why everybody is talking about obama next he is not the only president that started a war -- obama? he is not the only president that started a war. it takes one person who to start a war. what everybody should think about now is making peace, not war. obama came to make peace, and if we are trying to discourage him to do the right thing, who is going to come in and do the right thing? host: thank you for calling in.
times" this morning. michael, at independent line. how was the president doing with libya? caller: he is doing a great job. thank you for taking my call. it is necessary we are there. we are there for a humanitarian mission, first and foremost, and while people might find? -- find that disagreeable. newt gingrich is the poster child of republican hypocrisy. he supported george bush, trying to ram a democracy down people's throats at the point of a gun. in libya, a person who has killed americans, by the white, and is in the midst of -- by the way, and is in the midst, and we intervened to save that struggling democracy -- let's hope it comes to its fruition.
let's hope that people like george bush, in newt gingrich, john boehner, and the rest of the war-mongering hypocrites', the chief of which is dick cheney, and all of these people who think the united states is here to provide powers that they can continue on their quest to enrich themselves at the detriment of the rest of the world. host: we will leave it there. this tweet -- host: in other news, this is from the associated press folkish enough fallout reaches europe -- fukushima fallout reaches europe. experts said wednesday they do not pose a health risk.
host: princeton, west virginia, steve, how was the president doing on libya? caller: if obama is right for doing what he did in libya, then george bush has to be right for what he did in iraq. said dominoes same practiced chemical warfare tactics and his own people. he is responsible for killing 500,000, 1 million, whatever. if obama is right now, george bush has to be right also.
another thing, they could have done this a little bit different. i was in the navy. i was the thick -- actually in the gulf of sidra. there are amazing aircraft capabilities. they could have shut down the libyan air force with that. they couldn't just given him a warning -- "keep flying, we will callth yourwn kirkcal caller: i think all, is he doing a good job. -- i think obama is doing a good job. ronald reagan invoked it at least three times. he invoked it in grenada, i think, in a iraq wants, and most libya, he invoked it iupon
host: keep an eye on booktv. jackie, ohio, good morning, how was the president's handling libyan? caller: i think john boehner thantter is more reasonable about congressional oversight. given the circumstances with are rocks, and how many people are dead there -- iraq, and how many people are dead there based on creance of actions, lies, which americans do not like to think
about, i think obama really should have allowed the other nations involved to lead. they are not an eminent threat. many of the european countries, as well as the u.s., have in some ways supported gaddafi. if i were that guy, clearly he has a bull's-eye on his back. even though he is obviously a maniac, flipped the script. say to the world how these other nations have supported him, and other dictators in the region. foot the script on the u.s. and the other nations. i also want to ask you guys to do some programs on the west bank's, the legal settlements, because nobody is talking about that. host: this from 0: the
the constitution to him. guess has doubled. when you to start drilling for our own oil. we need to stop for and about the people over there. the only thing i do not understand is why are we letting them into our country? we need to leave them alone. i used to tell my kids, keep your hands to yourself and mind your own business, and that is what america needs to do. we need to start drilling for our own oil. host: your college on the republican line. what did you think about the iraq war? caller: i did not think we should go into a raft. we need to get away from them. all they want to do is kill. it is in their dna. why are we letting them in this
country? if they love circassia law, why don't we keep them there? host: that was an, a republican in norris, tennessee. thank you for participating this morning. all 42 of our callers. now, for the second half of the washington journal, we will take you live to the national archives for a special show with students. host: thank you. the national archives is home to america's most important documents there is a new exhibit here, by the way, marking the 150th anniversary of the civil war. today, 100 honor students are part of the close-up program and a roundtable discussion with two political strategists, maria
cardona and john free tree -- john feehery. thank you for being with us. let me begin with the letter john boehner sent to the president yesterday. i want to read a portion. in deere, mr. president. i, and many members upshaw house of representatives are troubled that the u.s. military resources were committed to a war without clearly defining for the american people, the congress, and our troops, what the mission in libya is, and what america's role is in achieving that mission. how much of this was constitutional, and how much as political posturing? guest: i think most of it is constitutional question in, and there is concern from the left and the right. if they are mostly worried about the mission. how long will this take? what are the objectives? why are we there?
i think muammar gaddafi is a bully. if you want to stop bully's wherever you can, but there are a lot of belize all over the world. we cannot be involved. if you are going to get involved with our troops, our money, you have to make sure we have clearly-defined objectives. most, for john boehner staff and a lot of democrats, you need to keep themongress and in the progress. host:, maria cardona, we're talking about the constitution in the house that houses the constitution. guest: most of what is contained in the letter, broadly, in making sure the president keeps the american people informed are important things. the white house would be the first to say that we want to continue the conversation with john boehner and other leaders.
john boehner was in the white house on friday talking to the president about this. he had the national security adviser talked through a -- to congress throughout the weekend. if they are saying they were not consulted, that is just not true. the second thing is we are not at war. the president was clear that this was a very limited military action in scope and time. clearly, the war power gives him the authority to do that in bad basis. he wrote that letter. to your question about it being political posturing, of course it is political posturing. if this action had been taken by a republican president, there would be no letter. host: if nothing had taken place, if u.s. and nato forces were not in libya was air strikes, and we saw the deaths of civilians in libya, with the same people be arguing that the
president was doing nothing, not been a leader? in guest: if this is a good question nobody is quite sure what the right inflection point is. i think that nancy pelosi and speaker john boehner both had very deep concerns about the strategic mission involved. there's a lot of bloodshed involved with the rebel forces. if you do not necessarily want to have gaddafi, over well and slaughter people. i understand the impulse. i do is it that congress need more consultation, and the president needs to have a conversation with the american people, so he can inform them why we are over there. this is not just about diplomacy. it is also about keeping the american people informed so they feel confident we are moving in the right direction.
host: we will get your phone calls. we are coming to you from the national archives. we will get questions from some of the students here. maria cardona, this comes up the same time if there is a budget debate. the congress cannot agree on a budget for this fiscal year, yet this military operation is costing anywhere from $30 million to $100 million a week and could reach $1 billion. guest: that is why the president made it limited in scope and timing. it is another reason why the president was clear and focused at making sure we did not go at this alone, making sure the u.n. was behind this, and more importantly, if the arab league actually asked for this. in that setting that incredibly important international collaboration, it makes sure we are not the only ones bearing the burden both in the blood and
treasure. if you are right. we clearly have tremendous issues in terms of budgetary issues here at home, but at the same time we cannot ignore when gaddafi is basically saying he will slaughter his people. it was very clear that is what was going on. the international community came to the aid of the libyan civilians who were being slaughtered, and who were going to continue to be slaughtered. we have heard reports from the front lines, the rebels, who were basically saying that thanks to the action the group up, according to the u.n. security council resolution, we are here today. basically, they saved thousands of lives, not just rebels, but libyan civilians in this action, and that exactly what the the -- that is exactly what the goal was. a coke within a day of the u.n.
security council and voting 10- nothing, the president landed in brazil. that was happening at the same time u.s. forces -- forces were getting in position in the mediterranean. was it a mistake to do this trip and begin this military operation? guest: one of the things that the president faces is you will have unforeseen circumstances and conflicts every day. you need to keep your eye on the ball, and this president has been able to walk and chew gum at the same time. if importantly, this trip to latin america, was about creating american jobs, which has to be an incredibly tight focus of this administration as well as the congress because that is what the american people are asking for. host: john feehery? guest: it is not an easy answer. when you commit american troops to a military conflict, you are
better off staying at home and keeping the american people informed. i think it was an important trade mission. i think brazil and all of south america are important to job growth, and we need to make sure we continue to establish and build on ties down there. aboutyou wrote yesterday. guest: i did. i thought it was interesting that he cut short his trip to the mayan ruins ted kaufman -- my in ruins. this is a serious situation. there is not unanimity within the international community. brazil abstained, china abstained, the russians abstained -- europe itself is extraordinary conflicted. there's some animosity toward
nicolas sarkozy's movements here. this is not an easy decision. i do think that for unsubtle decisions like this, it is important that the president stays close to home, and close to the american people, so they understand why we are doing this. that has an lacking. host: joe from alabama. welcome to the conversation. we will try one more time for our viewers. caller: yes. i have a question for the republican. where and when did our party forget we are all americans? we questioned our commander in chief about nitpicking, when it was never done to ask george bush. that is what is wrong with this country. we are bickering like children. we are americans.
quit being a whiter is, republicans. just change parties. -- quick been whiners. just change parties. [unintelligible] c-span.or[inaudible] host: we are having just a bit of a problem at the national archives. we want to continue to take your calls on the situation in libya. hollywood, florida. herb on our independent line. caller: happy thursday. thank you c-span. i think the world and the country in particular forget that we had a war of
independence and we had a civil war. if we are less than 250 years old, but we relied on tribal chiefs, countries from europe and other places to help both sides in both of those wars, and we do not have a jihad. i had to bring up that word. is this a civil war, the question in libya, is this a war of independence, and who can answer that? my way would be that the president is doing right, interceding in a civil war, but we need to get a out of the jiahd. host: thank you. a reminder, turn down your volume. you'll be able to have a conversation? . from tridymite, is a democrat in ohio.
-- mike is a democrat in ohio. caller: when ronald reagan went after gaddafi, did he asked permission? this thing about doing a thing one weak, and then the next secure criticize, this has to be stopped. host: we will put the numbers back on the screen so you can dial in. host: while we are here, you can also send a tweet or an e-mail. s. frank in new haven, connecticut. you are on the air. caller: i wish i could have gotten through it with the
forum with the honor students. host: we will go back to that d. caller: neither one of the gusts are talking about the issue of the forum, and that is the constitutionality of going to war without a declaration of war. not going to the congress and asking if it is ok with you. we have not fought eighth legal oral since the second world war. -- legal war since the second world war. mr. madison said "is tyranny and oppression communist-led it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy. or is the most dreaded because it comprises and the germ of every other.
armies, the debts, and texas, are known instruments for bringing the many under the dominion of the steel. the loss of liberty at home is to be charged to the provisions against danger, real or imagined, from abroad. host: what are you reading from? caller: i am reading quotes from jane's madison. -- james madison. host: how was the president's handling the libyan matter? caller: the president does not speak for himself. to me, that is not a leader. if you have a decision to make off with a group of people, and you are the leader of the country, if you are obligated to speak for yourself, to get out there, and say exactly what is happening, and to use your own voice instead of other people's voices and then pretended like you are not responsible for
anything. that is the leadership by an seeing now, which is not leadership. if it is more like a bizarre appointing people to speak for him. -- bizarre appointing people. host: this tweet -- host: douglas, waldorf, maryland. caller: thank you. i have a comment. i listened to your show every i am a previousuble ba independent and democratic caller. what is happening on capitol hill is frustrating for people like me. the bickering back and forth between the republicans and democrats, whether it is libya,
afghanistan, but the defense budget, whatever. if i have to tighten my belt on everything i do. if he had not done anything in libya we would have a conversation saying the president is not doing enough. please, stop bickering. host: douglas, are you listening on c-span radio? caller: yes i am. host: 90.1 is our video station in this area. this tweet -- host: our next call comes from mobile, alabama, and they're all on the independent line.
-- deere all on the independence line. caller: i wanted to second the previous caller. we basically need to stop the hypocrisy, although, deep in my gut, i believe it is probably the right thing to do, he probably should have gotten more of a congressional ok to do this. i believe it is a false equivalent when people try to draw between what is happening now and what happened with the afghan and iraq cores. although, i believe it is the right thing to do, we need to look at it from both sides. host: the next call comes from crystal in riverdale, ga.. democrat, you're on the air.
caller: thank you for accepting my phone call. i agree that as a democrat, i agree with obama. if he had not come to us, it would have been lose-lose. the fact that he came to us, i agree pep i am a young follower. i feel like he is making me feel like i do have participation in decisions with america. host: what do you do in the river belle? caller: i am a waitress. host: are you going to school? caller: i go to crockets went to university. -- atlanta university. host: are you a regular viewer?
caller: thank you for watching -- yes. host: this tweet -- host: westerville come up ohio. -- westerville, ohio. what do you think? caller: we have to support the president. all you hear is the country is broke, and i do not see how we could afford to get into another conflict, but on the other hand, as far as the country being broke, one of the dumbest things i have ever seen was the other day when they were talking about the social security going broke, and there was a lot of fraud, a lot of people getting benefits without actually
qualifying for them. their solution is to roll everybody into social security. that is the mentality of our government in washington. let's not fix the problem and get the fraud, waste and all of the abuse of the system. i would support raising taxes, and what everyone to do, but you need to get the fraud and waste out. as far as obama and lydia, i guess he is doing the right thing. we do not know. host: john, did you vote for president obama? caller: no, i did not. host: what kind of work do you do? caller: i am retired, but used to work for airborne express. host: that was really big, but
it was shut down. caller: it used to be an air force base. they took it over. dhl took it over -- turned it over to the city of wilmington. host: thank you for watching. thank you for calling in this morning from westerville, ohio. "washington journal" he will continue in just a moment. >> this weekend, a conversation on the failed assassination attempt of ronald reagan added afterwards, the somewhat dysfunctional world of the new york mercantile exchange. throughout the weekend, panels on medical and science, and the vietnam war, and more.
you can have our schedules e- mail directly to you. this weekend, a shock colson, a special counsel to president nixon talks about the watergate break-in, and his relationship with the president. route -- brown university's bruce simons, and also remembering the constitution. the assertion that james madison should be known as the father of u.s. politics. >> friday night on c-span, a female writers and activists from the middle east discuss civil unrest within their countries. you will hear perspectives from women grappling with political and religious freedom as they take a role in changing the
political systems in egypt, iraq, iran, and saudi arabia. >> iran is really bad. the situation is bad for everybody. this is one side of the coloring. the other side is saudi arabia, and it is the darkest side. where we live in a dark area. nobody knows about us. our stories have never been heard. we are very strong in terms of oil would, supported the west. it is also the homeland of islam. >> watch this summit from new york city, friday night, on c- span. host: we welcome you back live to the national archives. our apologies for a technical difficulty. we're back with maria cardona and john feehery. thank you for sticking around. let's get to questions. nathan is a student from nebraska.
caller: you said that a republican candidate would have to combine both independents and republicans. do think that would be a tea party candidate or a more moderate republican? guest: that is a very good question. let me say that i think president obama can be beaten. if we have a candidate that can unite the republican party and appeal to an event -- independent voters, the republicans can win. so the question is, who do you appeal to, and what is your message? i think there are plenty of candidates that could pull them off. i think kim plenty could pull that off. i think mitt romney could pull that off. i think haley barbour -- it all depends on how you can indicate to the voters. if you are polarizing, or six
inspirational, and if your message fits the moment in history. i think ronald reagan did that. i think bill clinton did that. i think george bush was able to win, barack obama was able to win because they feared the moment and were able to unify their parties. -- since the moment, and were able to unify their parties. is the tea party goes in their own direction, they will not be able to beat president obama. host: did you want to follow what? do you have a favorite? >> barack obama because i do not see a republican candidate that could gravitate toward the middle. host: another question from a student here. >> i am jonathan, from a virginia.
do think obama can keep his approval ratings up with the 2012 election? guest: i think he has always maintained a very strong rating in terms of personal liability, and that is incredibly important because people tend to give you some leeway if they do not like your policies. from a policy standpoint, this president has faced some of the toughest policy issues coming into office -- two wars, an economy on the brink of collapse, facing perhaps the second great depression -- so much going on here and abroad, and that continues. if you have the japan earthquake, what is going on with libya -- what you have seen from the present is the ability to deal with all of those while continuing to focus on job creation. if that is what the american people want. i think that is better than
average ratings in the midterms bode well for his reelection in 2012. at the same time, going back to john's point, and something we discussed earlier, is you cannot take anything for granted. the president will not do that. while i do not think there is a potential republican presidential candidates that could beat president obama in 2012, you never know how things will turn out, and eighth day is a lifetime in politics -- a day is a lifetime. about ronaldalking reagan and bill clinton. guest: the interesting thing that happened with both was you had the economy really rebound with both of them, which obviously halt. as the economy explodes back, it
will be hard to beat president obama. the other thing you had was a rejection of midterm begin in the midterm election of policies. in 1994, republicans took over congress. in 1982, the democrats increase their majority in the house and did well in the senate election specks that was -- election. that was a rejection of the first two years. you have seen this with president obama. he has gone to the center on many issues. willet working off? what happened in 1976 and 1978 with president carter, if you did not have the mid term correction, and you have an economy that was terrible. that led to his loss. in the big underlying issue is jobs. jobs come back, is the economy comes back, president obama will
be tough to beat. caller: 90 joins us from illinois. i believe barack obama did the right thing, but there is nobody in this country that believes iraq and afghanistan -- it is never going to change. we need to get out of there now. it is not going to be any better nobody believes it will be better for us, or for them, host: the the right thing in libya or iraq and afghanistan? caller: libya. let's face the facts. thank you, gentlemen. host: one of the issues that came up was george bush trying to normalize relationships.
looking back, was that a mistake? guest: i think what the president was trying to do was build on muammar gaddafi's rejection of weapons of mass destruction and libya. libya is a hypocrisy. it is not that different from what happened with saddam hussein as far as the level of corruption in the country. it is very difficult to understand why he would try to normalize relationships with someone like him unless you are trying to achieve a bigger goal. for bush the bigger goal was trying to stop weapons of mass destruction, and more importantly stop terrorism. to the caller's point, i do think there is great concern about our efforts in the middle east and afghanistan. i think people are really tired of these wars, and they do want
us to focus back on america. that being said, we do have responsibilities worldwide, and we do have several people who are trying to launch terrorist attacks against us, and we do have a larger responsibility to stabilize their regions around the globe. host: we have about 100 students, all honor students. it is part of a close-up program coming from nebraska, california, virginia, and minnesota. >> alex brown university high school in california. host: we just heard yesterday he will be speaking in thiowa. guest: to me, the more the merrier as a democrat. and i say bring it on. i think donald trump will serve
to shake things up. he is clearly a successful businessman. he knows the issues around budgets and how to create jobs. having said that, the fact that he is now citing with people wondering whether barack obama was born in this country, does not make him a candidate that can appeal to independents and moderate voters in this country. that is very much a tea party talking points. as he is running for president, he is trying to show his tea party side. i do not know if that will help him or not. and i can tell you from the standpoint of having a moderate, independent person that can appeal to a broader coalition of voters, that is not the way to go. host: yes, no, or maybe?
guest: your fire. i love "celebrity apprentice." i think he has enormous ego. best way ofs the ever seen at talking of things. i think he is using this as a way to further market himself so that people think donald trump is really cool. host: i guess that is a no? [laughter] jacob from california. what are the biggest make it or break it issues? guest: the economy. first and foremost if we continue in the position we're in right now in terms of the high unemployment, the focus on job creation will be the thing that is going to decide this
election. what ever is going on internationally. having said that, it does not mean that foreign policies will not be an issue and something that president obama and whoever ends up running for president on the republican side will have to talk about and talked about credibly, but i think right now the economy is what will make or break the campaign in 2012. guest: i do not disagree with what maria is saying, but i do think energy will be a big issue because of what is going on in japan. nuclear energy. gas prices will keep rising and falling. that will have an impact on the economy. i think the overall budget, many states in the country, including california, are going broke, and that has an impact on the economy. you've seen all kinds of protests about collective
bargaining, and that will have an impact on how we look at politicians. the fact is that in congress we will be dealing with huge issues like entitlement spending. from your perspective as people that are getting ready to go to college, you have a couple issues your most worried about. one is how you afford college? once you get out of college, it will social security be there when you retire? the question is probably yes, but a much diminished results. -- the answer is probably yes, but at a much diminished results. all of these things are going to be part of the conversation. i think that ultimately comes over to it is not just the economy, it is also leadership. if a republican candidates can show that he can be effective and transformational leader, he
can compete with president obama, who obviously show that in the last election. host: one of the national archives -- we are at the national archives. dona.ng us is maria car do i want to ask how many will be going to college next year? how many will be turning 18 in the next year? how many will vote in the next election? very good. let's go to barbara from kalamazoo, michigan. caller: my first concern is [inaudible] we have all of this money to go to the foreign countries. but my main question is why
can't we -- we voted you in as collective people, why can't you forget the republican and democrat ideas in simply work together with intelligence, integrity, and adulthood? host: big points. first of all, the budget debate. guest: i think the calller brings up a good point, which is something that i think the american people absolutely clamored for in these last elections, and that is for republicans and democrats to work together towards a common solution to the great challenges and problems we're facing right now. one of them obviously is the budget. this president and the democrats have absolutely reached out to republicans, and we have been
able to come to some solutions on the short term, but at least it has avoided was some money in town thought could be a real possibility, still could be, in terms of a government shutdown. i think the democrats have been very clear that that is not what they want and not where they think they should go. that would be bad for the economy, clearly bad for the american people. they want to make sure they come to a resolution on the budget that creates jobs, focusing on winning the future as president obama says, cut its deficit spending -- cuts deficit spending, but not cut our ability to invest in education, invest in infrastructure development, and invest in research and development, which is the only thing going to keep us competitive at a global level. right now what we're seeing is from republicans is the one to
cut, cut, cut their way out of the recession. with the correct proposal we would lose up to 700,000 jobs. -- with the current republican proposal, we will lose up to 700,000 jobs. we have to continue to work together as republicans and democrats and make sure we do it in a way that continues to focus on resolutions and solutions to these problems. host: we are in the building that houses the u.s. constitution. did the founding fathers is they set up three separate bridges of government to have the kind of debate we were having today? is this what they wanted? guest: i think so. we have seen that the american government is a fairly young one by international standards, but as one of the most politically stable. we saw that in the election of john adams in the second
presidency. but at the same time we also have the judicial branch that at times has been able to step in and tell the other branches we cannot keep doing this, we're going to make a course correction now. i think to a great degree the founding fathers intended for that to happen. host: if they came back to washington on this date, 2011, what they'd be happy with what they see? >> i am not sure about that. i know george washington detested partisan politics, but i do think they would be proud to see the government has stood with so little change. host: we're going to add a fourth change. what you come on up here? very good. [laughter] >> i want to ask you a question about what you said earlier, the president can walk and chew gum at the same time.
i want to ask if congress is the same? to what degree do you think this will impact congress' ability to make decisions on libya or other foreign policy matters? host: you have spent time on capitol hill with the former speaker. guest: that is a very good speaker. your explanation of the constitution was right on. i do think george washington would be dismayed by the partisanship, but thomas jefferson and alexander hamilton loved it. the federalists got started almost right away. partisanship does play a role, which as you represent the thatrent actions represent the country. the founders said in the house of representatives you will be elected every two years.
right after congress gets elected, they start worrying about the next election. senators, at least one-third -- two-thirds of the senators, having a long review because there election is not right around the corner. it is actually on foreign policy issues, congress has a fairly the the tip role. they spend the money, and the president spends the money. -- they also raise the money, and the president spends the money. -- authorize the money, and the president spends the money. as you know, right now we're trying to clean up the budget from last year, and that has caused all kinds of tensions. you throw the two wars, that have largely been paid for off
the budget, and then you throw this would be expensed on their, and it makes members of congress' heads spin a little bit. the budget from last year still has not been approved. to answer your question in a roundabout way, members of congress try to walk and chew gum at the same time, but it is difficult. one other point on getting things done and going back to constituents, all members of congress need to be responsible to their constituents. all of them want to work together to get things done for the country, however, they all view that mandate differently. because this is such a big and complicated country, the reason congress get so overheated is because the members think there are faithfully representing the views of their constituents. sometimes the art of negotiation
is the art of trying to bring constituents in so you know they know that you are fighting for them. sometimes it takes a government shutdown to send that message. host: very quickly, you blog where/ ? guest: i have a plot where we talk about public policy -- blog where we talk about public policy. guest: i strongly recommend you www.thefierytheory.com. host: michael joining us from west virginia. feeherytheory.com. caller: i am a registered republican, lifelong. i joined in on the tea party
thing and was quite proud of it at the time, but since i have lost all enthusiasm for it. i do not agree with hardly anything i see happening. my concern in question was is that since we have put our party in congress, and we ran on making jobs all we have done is funded n.p.r. and shut down everything in the government to try to fund n.p.r. now we criticize obama for not going to libya, and now he is in libya and we criticize him. the only leader icy in the white house is president obama. why did not vote for -- who i did not vote for.
i will this time. he is the only leader icy, and he is being put in a position to create jobs by the congress. guest: we will see how this all shakes out. i do think at the end of the day there will be much more investment in the private sector, because the business community feels that the republicans in congress are fighting for them how. i do think the economy will come back. the fact of the matter is that the legislative process is such that it is a little bit messy. you do not necessarily want to judge the end result by what is happening in the first couple months, because it takes a lot of work. the republicans afford to push hard to try to get the budget in some sort of fiscal shape, and it will go to the senate, and they will negotiate, and at the end of the day will come up with some sort of compromise because
they have to. i think largely the economy will come back because of it. host: a few minutes left. a question over here. caller: alan from minnesota. why are we getting help from other countries to go fight the worst? -- to go fight the wars. guest: i would actually use that as a reason why president obama was very calculated in insuring that this military action in libya is not something that we went alone into, and that we did have a u.n. resolution backing it, and we did have the cooperation of nato, and importantly, countries in the middle east, the arab league, they were the ones that asked for this and clamoring for this. that is a very good point, we should not be the policeman of
the world, but at the same time we cannot sit idly by when you have a dictator who was about to end has been slaughtering his people, engaging in a bloodbath in his own country towards his own civilians. what we engaged in and are is engaged in in libya is limited scope and time, and it is something important that we are not doing alone. exactly to your point. host: the questions are coming from honor students, part of a close-up program here in washington. review -- were you a.p. honor student in high school? guest: i was. guest: nono. -- no. [laughter] our school was close to closing last year.
what is being done for education around the u.s.? host: what do you want to be done? >> more funding. something needs to be done. we're here to learn about politics and america's leaders are growing up now, so something does need to be done. we need to maybe more kids to see what is happening around here to try to see what we can do to help out. host: last year we have the secretary of education seated right here in this auditorium talking about education. do you know how much comes from the federal government and how much comes from the local communities? >> i do not know. we are reservation school. host: would you care to guess? guest: probably not. host: about 3% to 5%.
that is a fantastic question. this goes to the heart of what this president has been talking about for so long, and goes to the heart of what he as well as democrats should be our core values in this budget issues we're facing currently. the republicans want to slash education budget, and democrats want to cut spending in places where there is waste and repetition, but let's not cut the education budget, because that is what is going to ensure we have talented leaders of tomorrow like yourself. host: john is shaking his head. guest: president bush doubled funding for education. i think president obama will continue that. where do spend the money is even more important. making sure you have high, quality teachers who are getting paid.
the teachers that are not so high quality get booted. the fact of the matter is we have had an ongoing education crisis in this country that has steadily lost ground to the rest of the globe, and we need to take a real hard look, and i think that when president bush passed no child left behind and had accountability standards. the fact of the matter is you need more accountability. you guys are taking a lot of test. -- tests. the fact of the matter is we need a way to make certain that you are learning and being prepared and able when you come out of high school that you are ready to encounter the job force if you want to, or if you want to go to college you have the opportunity. the fact of the matter is the unemployment rate gap between if you go to college and do not go to college -- i am so glad
you're going to college, because that means you have the best opportunity to get the best jobs -- if you decide not to go to college, it is a real big problem. let's go to the question about burden sharing. i do think that is important. during the cold war, america took a leadership for perole. we have been the world's policeman. but as we have more budget problems, the fact of the matter is the rest of the world, especially europeans, have to pick up their fair share. we have a huge defense budget. the europeans have no defense budget, and they have to pick up, otherwise we will go broke. host: one last question from our viewer in arlington, effort jinnvirginia. caller: i wanted to correct one of your guests. it is ongoing.
you have students there. duty to educate them.ot i am an independent. i think on average i have voted 80 percent republican, and 20% democrat. i have never seen a president much thrown toso at him and has remained so calm. mccain suspended his campaign, because he said the economy was about to collapse. i am scared that -- i am so appreciative, because if we had a king coming all of these things coming at him, we would be mea mess. had all of these al
things coming at him, we would be a mess. regarding libya, we forget muammar gaddafi was responsible for american lives. every bomb dropped in tripoli is a balm for each american life andt was lost in lockerbiee their lives. he is doing the smartest thing, and i am really proud of this president. i will be voting for him the next time, even though i did not. thank you. host: more of a comment, not the question, so let's go to a final question. >> i am from nebraska. the northeast part of nebraska. we see the gas prices rising right now, and wouldn't this be the time to take a leading
position in renewable energies? guest: are you talking about us and all, for example? -- ethanol, for example? [laughter] >> all nuclear energy is, because i think the future will be there. gas is going so high we cannot afford it anymore. >> i think republicans are in favor of global energy use. what they're mostly in favor of is all of the above. they want every kind of energy because they know all of you, and all of us use a lot of electricity and we all love energy so we have to make more of it. that means nuclear has to be part of it. we have this terrible situation in japan, tsunami, earthquake, and this really crisis. automatically people say we have
to stop doing nuclear energy over here. not necessarily. we need nuclear energy. we need solar. we need to be able to get more gasoline here in the united states. we should not be relying on what is going on. the problem is if you rely so much on the middle east, when this political situation occurs, -- if saudi arabia has a revolution, we are in big trouble. ito your point, we do need a bod strategy to get all of the above, more energy exploration included in the united states. host: from richard nixon through george bush, no president has been able to tap a comprehensive energy policy, a democrat or republican. why? guest: i think it is because we have a huge lobbying community from all of interest that are making millions upon millions
of dollars on our current energy policy. what i think we need to do, and what this president has tried to do, and democrats, is to be bold and do exactly what you're talking about in terms of focusing on renewable energy, all of the above. i think you need to look at wind, solar, nuclear, by a diesel, all of the alternative fuels that will be able to make us independent from foreign put it in these quagmire is in the past. what has happened is because of the past and because of our connections and the lobbying community of the incredibly powerful oil and gas companies, oil and gas companies are still getting incredible amounts of tax credits, and being able to go into this business without
paying their fair share of taxes. my question is always, why is it we are keeping these tax incentives in place for these companies who are not part of any more who have made rackets of billions of dollars in profit -- records of billions of dollars and profit and take them and give them to the businesses that are creating new ways where we can harness wind, water, alternative fuel, to be able to get as to the point of making as independent on foreign oil? that is what we need to do. host: on behalf of the students at the national archives, thank you for being with us. we're going to take a short break, but before we do, how many are from california? how many from nebraska? how many from virginia? how many from minnesota? these are all honor students, part of its close the program.
when we come back, we will turn our attention to libya. marc ginsberg will be joining us. first, a news update. >> unemployment numbers just been show fewer people applying for the benefits last week. evidence that layoff may be slowing and employers may be stepping up hiring. this is the fourth drop in the past five weeks. as for businesses, orders for durable goods dropped last month, the fourth decline in the past five months. weakness seen in a number of categories from heavy machinery and computers to primary metals, but even with the february decline, durable good orders were nearly 25% above the recession low that was hit in march of 2009. more on the nuclear power issue following the crisis in japan. the nuclear regulatory commission voted yesterday to set up a task force made up of senior staff and former experts to conduct short-term and long-
term analyses of lessons learned from japan. the reports also will address how lessons can be applied to the 104 existing u.s. nuclear reactors. the short-term review to be completed with about three months -- within about three months. a french military official says french air strikes have hit a libyan air base in the interior of the country. the spokesman tells reporters that the strike overnight hit a base about 155 miles south of the libyan coast line. he did not specify the town, nor elaborate on the damage. meanwhile, france's foreign minister says the international military operation against libyan leader muammar gaddafi's forces may last days or weeks, but not months. he went on to say that he hopes the campaign and the viet serves as a warning to regimes elsewhere, including in syria and saudi arabia. those are some of the latest
headlines on c-span radio. >> this weekend on "book tv" dell quinton wilber. afterwards, the sometimes dysfunctional world of the new york mercantile exchange. throughout the weekend, up from the va festival of the books, panels on medical and science, the vietnam war and more. find a complete schedule at booktv.org. to have the schedules directly e-mail to you, sign up for the "book tv" alert. this weekend we will talk about the watergate break-in, the secret tapes, and his relationship with the 37 president. the role of slavery and american academia and time it was in the construction of many universities. also, remembering the father of the constitution.
for the complete we can schedule, go to c- span.org/history. -- weekend schedule. >> friday night, female writers and activists from the middle east discuss unrest in their countries. you will hear perspective from women grappling with religious and political freedom. >> iran is really bad. the situation is bad for women and everyone, but this is one side of the coin. the other side is saudi arabia, but it is the darkest side. we live in a very dark area. nobody knows about us. we have never been heard, because we are very strong in terms of oil. we support the west with the oil, and also it is an islamic
country. >> watch the summit from new york city friday night at 8:00 eastern here on c-span. host: midway between the u.s. capitol and the white house is the national archives located on constitution and pennsylvania avenue. america's most important documents are housed here. this morning we have a group of students from four states. they are all a.p. honor students. we are pleased marc ginsberg d to welcome marc ginsberg. what is the situation in libya and what is the end game? guest: it depends on who you ask. if you ask president carter, it
is a humanitarian mission to present -- prevent forces from harming innocent civilians. if u.s. the pentagon come it is to enforce a no-fly zone. if you ask susan rice and others, it is to join a coalition of countries that are willing to take this battle all the way to force muammar gaddafi to give up power and perhaps leave libya. you have an unfortunate in consistency to exactly what the goals and objectives are. and host: among the questions asked is what is the mission and how long will we be there? even if it is a limited focus, is still has potential up costing americans blood and treasure. guest: it is clear that from the congressional perspective and the argumentation of whether or not the president should have
consulted more widely with congress before authorizing the united states military forces to participate in the enforcement of the no-fly zone, the president has declared that the united states is going to take a backseat role in the coming days, but there has been enormous confusion among our other allies. arab league, britain and france, over who was going to be responsible for the commanding control of the operation, the military operation going forward. the french do not want nato. wants nato.s no the united states is largely the 800 pound elephant in the room when it comes to the capacity we can bring to bear in libya, at least in the air. host: why go forth with a mission that does not have a clear understanding for who was responsible for what? guest: i think in some respects
the president had hoped that while he acted belatedly, stopping the slaughter of what would have occurred at the united nations security council not voted to impose a no-fly zone on the country would have resulted in the human catastrophe. they have 1 million people. it would have resulted in thousands of people probably being killed. in some respects the president can declare mission accomplished and leave, because we did stop the slaughter. if the french want to take the fight all the way to the shores of tripoli, i say let them play. president sarkozy, wants to lead the fight, let him lead the fight. host: you spent some time in the
white house. what questions do you think he is asking today about this operation? guest: i think first and foremost is who was going to take the front and center responsibility for the commanding control of a coalition of forces that will enforce the no-fly zone number one? number two, are the french pushing us beyond our responsible role in libya beyond the coalition wishes and perhaps the other countries which is better participating in this? number three, how do we prevent americans being harmed as a result of the confusion over who will be responsible? it is a complicated mission. it will take time. but we sort of backed our way into this military involvement, and now the president wants to step back, but he also has to take responsibility for answering the hard questions.
is our responsible role to merely help coronate from 30,000 feet a no-fly zone? or is the mission of this engagement, a military engagement in libya under perhaps french direction going to take this fight that would lead in the end to having to place ground forces on the ground in libya to prevail against muammar gaddafi? host: we have high school students here. where did you go to high school? guest: i went to high school in egypt, libya, in west hartford connecticut. >> i am from alexander, a virginia. through what history we have seen patterns of being inspired by other revolutions. i think it is pretty clear we're seeing this in the northeast. what do you envision the
ultimate scope of these revolutions being? do you envision them growing to an even larger expansion? guest: it is a great question. i dare say those that i read who write about this cannot accurately predict this. obviously the constitutional referendum that occurred in egypt was a major step forward in giving them a major sense of participation. basically in libya this is civil war. theis largely tribal in natio nation that is confusing to those in the country and confusing to those outside of the country. bahrain is filled with violence, as it is in yemen. there is a wave of desire among young people to have a federal
life and overthrow the order that is preventing them from obtaining that. these young people like you wish to have the same things that you have, opportunity, opportunity to be educated and get a job. and hope the government would be responsive to them. that is why in some ways why this is so duty, and yet it will play its all in so many ways. host: in the 1970's marc ginsberg serve as an adviser to ted kennedy and an adviser to jimmy carter. he served as u.s. ambassador to morocco. sean joining us from san diego. good morning to you. caller: good morning. i want to first say congratulations to all those students. they are our future of america, and bless each and everyone of you.
i just want to say that president obama i believe is doing a little bit too late. i think there are a lot of people that would agree with me that he should have jumped on this little band wagon that the french have started just too late. we have the student uprising they're going, and it was very strong, and we should have been there for them right then and there. how many other countries are we going to start -- it seems like the united states is taking the police state role in the world. how many other countries are we going to step into and start this where we are cord to take care of the people who we want
their idealism working and not the previous regime? host: thank you for the call. why the delay? guest: i think in the end, in retrospect there are a lot of people responsible looking and asking why did we not ask sooner? now this rebel army does not have the capacity to fight its way all the way across the desert from bengahzi. we do not really know. we do not really know what it would take. we know that from the perspective of these forces fighting, the opposition forces, that they will not prevail without additional military support. that is what the military says. why did the obama administration ultimately wait? i think because while the
president publicly declared it was time for muammar gaddafi to go, his administration had no effective strategy to declare that objective. frankly, his administration needs to keep that i on the core strategic objectives in the united states. our involvement in libya should have been correctly -- should have been strictly humanitarian. our core interests are outside of libya, not inside. host: during your time in the region, did you ever have any interactions with muammar gaddafi? guest: not directly. i was asked by the libyan government when i was no longer in the united states government to travel to tripoli and spend time with the foreign minister, as well as their minister of intelligence come before he give
up nuclear weapons to explain how the united states foreign policy would act in the wake of that type of decision on the part of the libyan government. there had been a careful, collaborated effort to begin that process. like anything else in libya, it is a tribal society, and what muammar gaddafi has done is turn this into a dictatorship for no one was able to make decisions without his own personal approval. >> i go also to thomas jefferson high school. i wanted to talk about historically american responses to foreign civil wars. in response to the civil war that occurred in spain. basically the american government was mutual, but groups of americans go over on their own, dying voluntarily to help out the conflict. as you say, we do not have any direct threat to the national security of libya, but perhaps
we and your opinions -- the europeans have interests in oil reserves. maybe the oil companies could help out there. guest: it is an excellent question. throughout history americans have voluntarily picked up and go and fight on behalf of peoples around the world who were seeking to be free. some of them fought on behalf of the communists against the government when you have the russian revolution. the same held true in the french revolution. i do not think there are too many americans that would want to pack up and invade the shores of tripoli in order to involve themselves in the civil war in libya. i think part of this is there is an unfit to be -- infinity factor at work.
this has somewhat been undermined by what has become a military struggle between two sides inside libya. unlike the uprising in egypt that generated enormous interest around the world, and young people using non-filing means attracted the interest of the media and the american people, and we commend those young people for engaging in non- violence, but this has transformed itself from an uprising that occurred in tripoli into a full-fledged civil war between two sides, where in some respect the ideals of the revolution has been lost and what has become a military more or less stalemate. host: it seems the primary mission is to educate americans about politics, which is why we are pleased to have a group of students from four states.
we are at the national archives complex. our guest is marc ginsberg, as we discussed the military situation in libya and more broadly in the middle east. another question right up front. >> i am from thomas jefferson as well. i was wondering what your opinion was and how the middle east problems could be affected in the long run? guest: this is a very unsettling dangerous time for the united states in the middle east. we have core, a strategic interest that are being undermined while these revolutions proceed. what are those interests? the cornerstone is the bending and in forcing the egyptian is really peace treaty, camp david accords, and building a peace between israel and its
neighbors. all of this is being made more difficult as a result of the revolutions in the region. we're watching 11 on slowly being annexed by hezbollah -- lebanon slowly being annexed by his belovhezbollah. and the price of oil is affecting everyone in this room and their parents, because the instability in the middle east creates instability in the oil markets. as long as there is instability in the middle east and countries are wary about what is going to happen, then it will drive up the price of oil. at every step of the way, while we are certainly interested in these revolutions, we need to keep sight of what the core strategic interests are in the middle east. i am afraid the president obama administration has taken eyes off of what the core interests
are. it is a 24/7 job, and i am afraid they are only spending 12 hours on it. host: i want by show of hands, how many of you think we have a responsibility to be in those three countries? how many say yes, and how many say no? joining us from port washington, maryland. caller: mary joe. why is it whenever president obama does anything it is scrutinized in a really bad way? i also want to say president obama choice to take human life over protocol. everyone else seems to be worried about what the constitution says. i applaud the president for taking life over paperwork in words. thank you. host: thank you for the call.
we had a discussion about the constitution earlier. guest: i respect the fact that this is a difficult time for the president in the middle east. while i want to see him get it right without having to further undermine the understanding of what we should or should not do in the middle east, again, my reminder to this white house is that it needs to focus on the humanitarian mission and to encourage the french and others to step further up to the plate. the worst thing that can happen here is that we want to say that muammar gaddafi needs to go, and at the same time, if he still stays in power, is cents an enormously challenging message to other revolutions in the middle east, and it makes the united states look even weaker. host: let's go back to the boehner.rom john vad
he said it is my hope you will provide the american people in congress with a clear and robust assessment of the scope, objected, and purpose of our mission. guest: i think the speaker was initially supporting the president. if i were in congress, and back advising senator kennedy, i think i would be asking the very same questions. the administration has not held the corps obligation to the american people to define the mission in libya when it itself is confused over what the mission really is. it is speaking out of so many different voices right now, and it is inconsistent with our ally's goals that there is a rightful part on the part of congress over what this mission is. the president owes it to the american people to say we're not
going to engage on boots on the ground, supporting redeem change. our job is to merely support the no-fly zone, and to not continue attacks or support a tax that seem to be supporting the rebels and their efforts to drive all the way to tripoli, unless the united states decides otherwise, and then he has to go to congress in seeking a member of the security council resolution. that is why i said he owes it, and this administration owes it to the congress to explain exactly what this mission is. i hope when he explained it to the congress it will result itself. >> good morning. i am from thomas jefferson high school. my question is when i think about these kinds of events, i draw parallels to even its in history, and i believe this is more parallel to the nato strikes in yugoslavia.
how would you say that this campaign has stopped this humanitarian crisis? how far do you think it should go to prevent the crimes muammar gaddafi is committing against humans? guest: remember, we were establishing and having diplomatic relationships with muammar gaddafi. we knew he had an oppressive regime. yet american diplomats throughout the bush administration and obama administration for going to muammar gaddafi and dealing with him as if all of these issues in which he was repressing that government engaging in massive corruption were largely irrelevant. let's keep that in perspective. there is an uprising against him. the uprising is largely undertaken by young people and lawyers and other educated
people inside tripoli. it then spread across the desert. our responsibility at this point in time should be very limited, to provide humanitarian support, and to provide -- help to fill a security resolution in the strict four corners of the resolution to support a no-fly zone that keeps his air force from being able to attack civilians. we have accomplished that goal. so i commend the president. he can say that he has accomplished that to the american people. if the french and others want to support the opposition and the battle on the ground, as i said, let them do it. let them take the lead. they have much greater strategic interests in what takes place and the be at the of the united states. host: stacey joining us from new york city. caller: i would like to thank
you for c-span. you are not just educating the student in front of you, but educating lots of us as well. my question is this, and i respect marc ginsberg's opinions greatly. correct me if i am wrong, but what i think i'm hearing you say is that our strategic interest should take place. let's say for example in hindsight we have no strategic interest in ivory coast and did nothing. in hindsight we guessecond-guess whether we should have done something. strategic interests over human rights violations should guide our foreign policy. guest: as a ted kennedy democrat, i worked on his refugee subcommittee for so many years, and i have enormous respect for -- the united states should be a great voice for
humanitarian concern around the world, and when we see terrible things happening, we should do what we can to be of assistance. yes, in rwanda at the people in this administration, susan rice, feels i am sure a certain sense of responsibility because of not acting in rwanda. the same thing holds true in kosovo and bosnia where we almost acted too late. i think that the administration could have acted more quickly to help impose a no-fly zone in order to protect the people that have been killed and many of the city's in libya. we have acted almost too late to prevent that from happening, and yet we have now active. better act late than not at all. we prevented the massacre at in bengahzi.
if the people inside libya who are on opposition decide to fight this fight, and they are brave and courageous for doing so against very difficult august, this becomes a military struggle, rather than an effort to support f humanitarian cause in libya. that is the big difference between providing humanitarian support for the innocent civilians forces getting involved in the military battle that is being waged by semi- regular troops that went to fight muammar gaddafi's forces. i go to -->> my name is linda and i go to school in minnesota. if we if you would be at an emergency level, what will we do when other countries are at an emergency level? guest: that question is being debated around every
congressional office, and probably in the administration. why are we so preoccupied and libya when in bahrain the royal family is shooting demonstrators in the streets? why have we been largely silent when the yemeni president has sent sharpshooters to kill innocent civilians protesting his role. in syria they are now using brute force against demonstrators in southern syria. the list goes on and on. i think it really comes down to what extent do we have greatest strategic interests in the leadership in those countries? it is clear that at least insofar as the obama administration is concerned and the reason why we have no core strategic interest is they consider more khaddafi to be expendable. yet we do not know who will take
over when he goes. -- it is clear that at least insofar as the obama administration is concerned, the reason why we have no core strategic interest is they consider muammar gaddafi to be expendable. so we are picking and choosing our fights based on america's long-term interest, and is that inconsistent with what we see across the board? you bet ya. host: our next calller is from illinois. caller: i would like to know what percentage do you think that -- taken in your perspective, how much left to muammar gaddafi's have? should we expect other